A new drug that inhibits an enzyme playing a crucial role in cell division and growth has shown signs of anticancer activity with manageable side effects in patients with liver cancer who have been treated unsuccessfully previously with up to three lines of treatment. These findings were presented at the 2022 EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics.
Maria Reig, MD, PhD, Head of the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer Unit at Hospital Clinic Barcelona, Barcelona University, said: “Primary liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer and among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Although new treatments options are becoming available, the overall prognosis for advanced liver cancer remains poor. I wanted to find new treatments for this cancer.”
NMS-01940153E has been designed to be a potent and selective inhibitor of monopolar spindle 1. Dr. Reig continued: “Preclinical work demonstrated that NMS-01940153E was highly effective in preventing the proliferation of cancer cells, both on its own and in combination with other anticancer drugs. It seems more potent than other kinase inhibitors in liver cancer cells, and so we are testing it, as a single agent, in a phase I clinical trial in liver cancer patients.”
In the MPS-153-001 trial, NMS-01940153E was given intravenously to 12 patients with liver cancer on days 1, 8, and 15 every 4 weeks at increasing doses starting at 100 mg/m2 per week. All patients had previous treatments with up to three other anticancer drugs.
At data cutoff, 10 patients had discontinued treatment, 7 because of disease progression. Of 11 patients who could be evaluated, cancer shrank by at least 30% in 2 of them for 2.5 and 9.3 months. Both discontinued treatment after disease progression at 6.5 and 11.1 months, respectively. Two further patients had long-lasting stable disease and are still receiving the treatment after 11 and 18 cycles.
Dr Reig said: “At the 100 mg/m2 per week dose, one of six patients who could be evaluated had a partial response to the study drug. At the 135 mg/m2 per week dose, one of five had a partial response. Since each patient had three prior failures with standard treatments, the responses to NMS-01940153E are a strong sign that this new mechanism might be valuable in liver cancer, especially for patients whose cancer has already failed to respond to standard options.”
NMS-01940153E is currently being evaluated in a phase II clinical trial in patients with liver cancer who cannot be treated with surgery and whose cancer has failed to respond to the existing standard treatments.
Reig M et al: EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics. Abstract 3LBA. Presented October 28, 2022.